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into the Protestant interest." The Puritans, now become a power, talked of Catholic extermination—“the conversion of the Papists with the Bible in the one hand and the sword in the other.” The Catholics of the Pale as well as the native Catholics were filled with dismay. Disaffection and terror sprang up together, and the country ripened for revolt. The example of the Scots in rebellion against Laud and Episcopacy was not thrown away on the Irish. Their exiles flocked home. Expatriated chiefs appeared once more rallying the clansmen. The septmen of Ulster, driven from their lands to live like savages in the mountains, were eager to try their chance. The Connaughtmen, with the fate of Ulster before them, were also eager. On the 23d October 1641, the insurrection broke out, and for eleven years Ireland became one great battle-field and scene of slaughter. At a blow a vast multitude of the new Protestant settlers of Ulster were slain; by the return blow, the Catholic natives in several districts, an untold multitude, were swept off the face of the earth. The sudden deluge of blood was followed by an eruption of fiery hate. No intriguing Jesuits needed henceforth to fan the flames. They still burn briskly, and seem to be inextinguishable.
Most efficiently did “religion” now perform its (always best performed) function of setting men at each other's throats. The traditions of the Pale in effect made two Catholic interests—the Catholics of the Pale and the native Irish. Protestantism, as was natural, had fallen into varieties, most of which were now represented in Ireland. The Catholic natives, the Catholics of the Pale, the Protestant Royalists, and the Parliamentarians
-splitting into Presbyterians and Independents—were plotting, counterplotting, intriguing, conspiring, and
fighting with one another. Other interests, no doubt, were moving the actors, but it appeared as if religion, which had never prevented, was now the most active promoter of violence and discord.
It is unnecessary to trace with any minuteness the history of these miserable years. Two political principles and three religions, at the least, were appealing simultaneously to brute force for an adjustment of their relations. Behind all was the question of the land. There were five interests and as many armies. There were the armies of the Royalists, of the Anglo-Irish Catholics, of the Irish Catholics, of the Parliamentarians, and of the Scotch Covenanters. The Scotch army sided with the Parliamentarians; the Irish rebel army was against both the King and the Parliament; the AngloIrish army was now used this way and now that, its leaders playing fast and loose between the Royalists and the Irish rebels ; the Irish Royalists, the open enemies of the Parliamentarians, were playing fast and loose between Protestantism and Catholicism-between the Anglo-Irish Catholics and the English Protestant Royalists. No land has ever been the scene of so much bad principle, impolicy, and bootless devastation. Across the Channel, the confusion had, to some extent, its counterpart, out of which, however, came results at last, and Cromwell, armed with the power of England, prayerfully hastening to his work. Sharp and bloody work it was, and fruitful to the Irish of bitter memories. First came wholesale butcheries, mercifully executed in cold blood; next there came wholesale confiscations and a settlement, aggravating every evil feature in the previous settlement of Ireland. Cromwell ended the confusion, which had seemed hopeless and unending; but “ there is that scattereth, and yet increaseth."
The confusion, after all, was the smaller matter. The settlement of Ireland involved the happiness in all time of a people.
In 1641 the population of Ireland, according to Sir William Petty, was 1,466,000, of whom 616,000 were destroyed in the eleven years of the war. He computes that there perished or disappeared in these years, “ by the sword, famine, hardship, and banishment,” no fewer than 504,000 of the native Irish, being nearly twice as many as were altogether in 1172. Figures, however, convey but a poor notion of the state to which the country was reduced. Famine, as at the end of the Elizabethan wars, stepped in to complete the havoc of the sword. A plague followed. Suicide became epidemic, as the only escape from the intolerable evils of life. Cannibalism reappeared. According to an eyewitness, whole counties were cleared of their inhabitants. "A man might travel twenty or thirty miles and not see a living creature, either man, beast, or bird.” Where survivors were found they were either old men and women or children. “I have seen these miserable creatures,” says Colonel Lawrence, “plucking stinking carrion out of a ditch, black and rotten, and been credibly informed that they digged corpses out of the grave to eat.” Many pitied; many reflected. The reflection which occupied some minds was, that “ a few more rebellions,” could they be stirred up, would see the last of the wretched race. A curse seemed to rest on them, and they were becoming a curse to their conquerors. “Some furious spirits,” says Sir William Petty, writing in 1672, “have wished that the Irish would rebel again, that they might be put to the sword. But I declare that motion to be not only impious and inhuman, but withal frivolous and pernicious even to them who have rashly wished for those occasions.” Our modern colonists, with their after-harvest “ battues for clearing off the natives,” conducted at once as work and a pastime, are less scrupulous than was this simple statistician. His remedy for the evils of Ireland was the union of the kingdom with England; the removal of a portion of the Irish, and substitution for them of an equal number of English ; the encouragement of intermarriages of Irishmen with Englishwomen, so as to secure an intermixture of the races, with, ad interim, a fair religious establishment for the native Catholics. The priests, like the women, were to be English. “So as that when the priests, who govern the conscience, and the women, who influence other powerful appetites, shall be English, both of whom shall be in the bosom of the men, it must be that no massacring of the English, as heretofore, can happen again." Similar projects had been mooted nearly a hundred years before, a dread of coming evil from the ill-used Irish even then appearing in speculations as to their condition and future govern
We may see this in the opening of Spenser's view of the state of Ireland in 1596. “ But if that countrey of Ireland,” says Eudoxus, “ be of so goodly and commodious a soyle, as you report, I wonder that no course is taken for the turning thereof to good uses, and reducing that nation to better government and civility.” “Marry, so there have bin divers good plots devised,” responds Irenæus, “and wise councels cast already about reformation of that realme, but they say it is the fatall destiny of that land that no purposes whatsoever which are meant for her good will prosper or take good effect, which, whether it proceed from the very genius of the soyle, or influence of the starres, or that Almighty God hath not yet appointed the time for
her reformation, or that he reserveth her in this unquiet state still for some secret scourge which shall by her come unto England, it is hard to be knowne, but yet much to be feared.” The same words might be prefixed to an account of the state of Ireland at this day. The country has been repeatedly settled since Spenser wrote, but never on a just principle.
The next, and it may be called the final struggle, in which Catholics and Protestants—the natives and the foreigners--appeared at once as religious enemies and rival claimants to the land, was that which took place under James II. and Tyrconnel. It was terminated in favour of the Protestant interest by that “milder Cromwell”__ William of Orange. In this struggle, as in Elizabeth's war with Tyrone, the conclusion was not the discomfiture of the Irish, but a compromise and a treaty--the treaty of Limerick, remembered as the record of Irish valour and English perfidy. The treaty was made only to be broken. In disregard of its provisions, the peace inaugurated the reign of Protestant ascendancy and the persecuting code.
Six penal laws against recusants had been in force before the time of William of Orange; by twenty-four acts, passed between the seventh year of his reign and the twenty-ninth of George II., the penal code reached the fulness of its hideousness—the reproach of politicians and disgrace of Protestant Churchmen. It was bad as a punishment of recusancy; as a temptation to conformity it was utterly unprincipled and abominable—a temple of Mammon deliberately erected as ante-chapel to the Holy of Holies.
The Papist was withdrawn from the charge and education of his family; he could educate his children neither at home nor abroad; he could not be their guardian, nor